Apple continues to face criticism over its controversial decision to slow down older iPhones with aging batteries. Authorities in Italy and France have started their own investigations into the matter, and now those are joined by probes at the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to sources. The investigation is said to be in its early stages.
In recent weeks, Apple confirmed that it slowed some older iPhone models as a way to avoid issues resulting from older lithium-ion batteries. When these batteries age, their voltage level decreases, potentially resulting in stability issues with the phone. The avoid those issues, the phone’s performance is slowed to ensure it never exceeds the voltage capabilities of the older batteries.
The news resulted in consumer backlash, many accusing the company of engaging in “planned obsolescence,” among other things. Apple announced discounted iPhone battery replacements in light of the outcry, though that itself earned further criticism from some.
According to sources speaking with Bloomberg, the US government — the DOJ and SEC specifically — has requested information from Apple as part of an investigation into potential securities laws violations. However, neither the company nor the agencies have confirmed the report. This is said to be a preliminary step.
The sources claim that the government is looking into public statements Apple has previously made, and is concerned with whether investors were misled in the matter. Apple has vowed to be more transparent with consumers about the practice, and that includes adding the ability to monitor an iPhone’s battery health.